Print Story RIP Jack.
By nightflameblue (Tue Apr 27, 2010 at 10:14:20 AM EST) (all tags)
I looked back at the empty and dark tank this morning and find myself missing the little resident that had only been with us for such a short time. Let me tell you about him.

Pardon the smudges. Puppies and kitties enjoyed Jack's company immensely, and spent large amounts of time with their noses pressed to the glass.

I had this little quarantine tank in the back room. We used it to purchase the residents of our "big tank" in the living room, and keep them separate long enough to be sure they weren't gonna go ichtastic on us or some such.

After the last residents moved to the living room tank, Mrs. NFB said, "we need to put something back there. The kitties love that tank."

It was true. They would spend countless hours sitting next to it and staring at the little critters swimming around inside. So, with that in mind, I decided to finally indulge in one of the long-standing "never tried that" members of my cool fish list.

This blue and purple specimen lived on the betta wall an the LFS I frequent. It's the only LFS I've seen that has actual filtration on the itty-bitty betta bowls. It's actually a fairly ingenious little system, tiny little feed lines pushing barely moving streams of water into little overflow equipped bowls that can quickly be removed, moved around, rearranged, and put back with a simple slide. But that's all beside the point.

The guy at the store handed me a little mirror. He said, "don't buy one that won't react to his own reflection. If they won't react, their spirit has already been broken." A sad statement on the life of a betta in a pet shop, but likely true.

Several appealed to me on looks. The only one of the lookers that reacted was this blue and purple guy. And boy did he react. Gills flaring, fins extended, wiggling back and forth threateningly.

And so he came home with me. The heater had been turned down, the filter tuned to spread water slowly and evenly rather than quickly like the river dwellers like, and he was placed into his new home.

The kitties promptly lost interest in the back room.

Mrs. NFB took to him quickly. She called him the shark in the back room because of the way he glided slowly through his little water world, creeping out from the back shadows anytime someone entered the room. He'd flare and throw his body back and forth in agitation as you'd clean the tank. He'd pop up to try and take the food from you before you could place it in the water. He'd watch you warily if you sat and stared at him, occasionally pushing himself quickly to the glass to flare and then just as quickly retreating to the shadows by the filter tube.

Eventually, we moved him out to the living room behind the couch so he could be more a part of our family time each evening. He and LLT spent some quality time together each evening, staring at eachother like they couldn't believe the other even exists.

His placement in the room meant the natural light he had been getting wasn't reaching him. Last Friday we finally ordered him a very soft lamp so he could see a little something without having to pull the shade from behind his tank. Direct window light would be bad.

Sunday night he didn't eat quite like he normally did. That had happened before though, off for a meal or two and back to normal the next day. Monday morning he was laying on the bottom, not reacting to anything that was done.

I carefully pulled him out and placed him in a cup. I examined him closely. No gill movement. No fin movement. He was either gone, or close to gone.

As a big believer in making sure an animal has fully passed before the final arrangements are made, I slowly dripped brandy into his cup until the water turned a deep brown. I poured a small amount into a cup, raised my glass to him, apologized for not recognizing the problem in time, and then accepted the deed was done.

Your time with us was brief, but you made an impact on all of us. As the first fish to actually reach Mrs. NFB, you hold a special place in our memories. Goodbye little friend. You'll be missed.

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RIP Jack. | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)
Sounds like a good fish. by barooo (2.00 / 0) #1 Tue Apr 27, 2010 at 10:27:37 AM EST
We had a betta named Fred.  He lived about 18 months I think.  We called him our anorexic fish because as near as I can tell he survived on sunshine and pure thoughts; never saw him eat a single tablet of food (any of the 3 brands of betta food we tried) and for the last 6 months we fed him about every 2 weeks or so, or approximately whenever we remembered, and it would still just float on the top and get cleaned out when the bowl was cleaned.  Maybe he was getting some sort of nutrients from the plant in his tank?  Who knows, but he seemed to thrive, until suddenly one day he didn't.  Kind of like Sharky the goldfish who lived to be 12 and was almost big enough to eat.  He was big enough we buried him in an actual grave with the cats and dogs by the big wild rosebush instead of the ol' burial at sea.

Anyway, I'm close to hijacking so here's to Jack.

man, i need a beefy taco now.
It's cool. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Apr 27, 2010 at 10:41:51 AM EST
I don't mind hearing stories about other folks' pets. Sounds like your betta may have been a plant eater. Unless you had mosquito larva you were unaware of or something.

[ Parent ]
I had a red devil once by Captain Tenille (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue Apr 27, 2010 at 03:33:37 PM EST
That lived on pure malice. Not only would it not eat anything I gave it, but the only fishes that were safe around it were feeders. Anything else (even other large cichlids) would be beaten to within an inch of its life. Even the pacu was cowering in the corner of my big tank the next morning.

I moved it to a different tank where it lived in isolation (tried putting a Jack Dempsey in with it too, and it beat that up too), but it wouldn't eat anything. Lived for months and months that way; the tank's water was exceptionally clear while it was in there, so I think it must have been eating naturally occurring plankton algae or something. It would also threaten my wife if she came into that room. Eventually it died, but I never did figure out why it wouldn't eat anything. 


/* You are not expected to understand this. */

[ Parent ]
Having fish as pets by muchagecko (4.00 / 1) #3 Tue Apr 27, 2010 at 12:24:09 PM EST
is all about death.

We don't do fish anymore. I'm sick of death.

A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
My Name is Earl

This is sadly true. by nightflameblue (4.00 / 1) #4 Tue Apr 27, 2010 at 01:00:02 PM EST
Death is so much a part of it that the LFS actually gives you "extra" schooling fish when you buy more than ten because, "you're going to lose some of them before they're fully grown." They have such short lifespans even if everything goes perfect. At least the smaller ones do.

And the big fish need BIG ROOM.

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my placostomus and loaches by garlic (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Apr 27, 2010 at 03:20:08 PM EST
means that when my neon's or red eye's die I only notice if I do a head count, because nothing stays still on the bottom. I haven't found a way yet to plant live plants such that they won't dig them up eventually.

[ Parent ]
pleco + live plants = no go by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #7 Tue Apr 27, 2010 at 04:01:04 PM EST
I never found a way to make that work back when I had tanks big enough to support plecos. They'd either tear them up, or just flat out eat them.

[ Parent ]
Vegan fish? by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Apr 28, 2010 at 01:23:03 AM EST
I've never heard of such a thing.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Well said by kwsNI (4.00 / 1) #9 Wed Apr 28, 2010 at 08:06:01 AM EST
We also stopped doing small rodents (hamsters, mice, etc) for the same reason.  My wife couldn't handle it anymore.

[ Parent ]
RIP Jack. | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)